Level of Biogenic Amines in Red and White Wines, Dietary Exposure, and Histamine-Mediated Symptoms upon Wine Ingestion

Molecules. 2019 Oct 8;24(19):3629. doi: 10.3390/molecules24193629.


Biogenic amines (BAs) are involved in physiological processes. Foods where typically high levels of BAs occur are fermented food and beverage. This work set out to evaluate the occurrence of BAs in red and white wines, and to also ascertain the dietary exposure to BAs among consumers. Besides, a case report of a probable histamine intoxication upon ingestion of contaminated wine was described. The samples were analyzed through derivatization with dansyl chloride and HPLC-UV detection. Red wines showed higher levels of BAs, especially putrescine (PUT) and histamine (HIS), than white wines (median concentrations of 7.30 and 2.45 mg/L, respectively). However, results of our investigation showed that the dietary exposure to BAs through the consumption of wine (red and white) were lower than the recommended maximum levels for the acute exposure to HIS and tyramine (TYR). In contrast, the levels of BAs in wine on tap were much higher than in bottled wine and close to recommended values. The levels of HIS, TYR, and PUT in tap wine of 9.97, 8.23, and 13.01 mg/L, respectively, were associated with histamine-mediated symptoms in six young individuals after consumption of about three glasses of wine. The overall results and multivariate analysis confirm that red wine shows a higher concentration of BAs than white wine, especially putrescine and histamine. This finding is attributable to the malolactic fermentation that is common for most red wine production. It is also evident that incorrect preservation processes can lead to an increase in BA levels, probably due to the action of bacteria with high decarboxylase activity. The exposure values, although below the toxicity thresholds, could lead to histamine-mediated symptoms in susceptible individuals, also according to the case report discussed in this study.

Keywords: biogenic amines; case report; dansyl chloride; histamine; putrescine; wine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Algorithms
  • Biogenic Amines / analysis*
  • Dietary Exposure*
  • Histamine / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Wine / analysis*
  • Young Adult


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Histamine